By Hannah Saunders
Kenmore City Council met on November 15 to discuss affordable housing locations and updates for new planning commission members. Affordable housing has been the city’s top issue for 2021 and the city has been working toward locating affordable housing stock within Kenmore.
The city of Kenmore formed a working group of eight, which consists of six city employees and two members from A Regional Coalition for Housing (ARCH). The group looked at about 15 properties as possible sites for affordable housing units, but four stood out. Kenmore’s Development Services team presented the four properties to gain council approval.
“Really, the idea is to get direction from you tonight to go ahead with a request for proposal on these four properties,” said Bryan Hampson, the director of Development Services.
The four properties include The Old Shell Station on 6532 NE Bothell Way, The Holt property located at 7010 NE 181st Street; The Yang property on 7032 NE 182nd St. and the Post Office located at 6700 NE 181st St.
The selected properties are based on scoring profiles, including 13 questions that were worth five points each. One scoring factor was whether the listed properties had willing sellers, which some did not. The total possible scores were 65 points, and the Old Shell Property received the highest score of 51.76. The Holt property ranked second with 50.92; the Yang property ranked third with 50.43 points; the Post Office ranked last with 43.57 points.
“Is it possible to be more transparent about the criteria and how they got to the scores?” Councilmember Srebnik asked.
Hampson replied that he “didn’t feel it was necessary to get that far into the discussion tonight.”
Hampson did say the scoring questions will be uploaded to the website so that Kenmore residents can view the criteria. City Manager Rob Karlinsey noted that the city has staff to get at least two affordable housing facilities off the ground and running.
The council agreed to move forward with a motion on the first three properties and exclude the Post Office property due to its historical aspect. Development Services plans to gather more information on the three properties and present it to the council later.
Interviews for planning commission candidates will take place on Nov. 30. At a previous October meeting, the council discussed switching term length from three to four years. During the Nov. 15 meeting, the council learned that the city is allowed to set term lengths.
“We originally passed the motion because we were under the impression from staff that we had to go to four years,” Deputy Mayor Nigel Herbig said. “I think three years is actually a really good length for asking somebody to serve on the planning commission.”
The council passed a unanimous motion to allow for planning commissioners to serve for three years. The council also agreed to narrow down their list of candidates and selected eight that they would interview.